Weight: 170 pounds
Date of birth: January 2, 2000
Hometown: Brandon, Florida
Position: Right Wing
OHL Draft: Round 1, 12th overall, 2016 Priority Selection
For Brandon Florida native and Niagara IceDogs pivot Akil Thomas, there are some bloodlines in the hockey family. While they never carved out a National Hockey League career, his father Kahlil Thomas carved out a hockey career while getting a cup of coffee in the American Hockey League and the International Hockey League. Ditto for his uncle Leo Thomas, who finished his hockey career two years ago in the East Coast Hockey League.
Thomas played his minor midget hockey with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2015-2016 season. In 56 games with Toronto he notched 33 goals while setting up 39 others.
Thomas is an OHL Gold Cup Champion. He led the tournament with 11 points on 6 goals and 5 assists during the 2015-2016 season. In the same year, he won silver at the OHL Cup, again leading all scorers with 13 points with 6 goals and 7 assists in 7 games and being named to the OHL Cup All-Star Team.
With dual citizenship, Thomas chose to represent Canada. He hit the international stage a season ago at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 as a leader for Canada White, where he scored twice and added an assist in 6 games. Later that season, he was kept off the score board at the World Junior Championships Under-18.
Last season was also Thomas’ rookie Ontario Hockey League season where he finished third in goals (21), assists (27) and points (48) in 61 games. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie squad.
This season began in August 2017 for Thomas when he represented Canada once again at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. He won gold with the Canadians and helped the cause with 2 goals and 4 assists in 5 games.
Thomas has led the IceDogs offense for most of the season, until a trade with the London Knights brought Sam Miletic in. Thomas has 16 goals and 48 assists in 55 games to date. 4 of his goals and 21 assists have come with the man advantage making him a dangerous offensive threat with the extra man. He’s firing at a 9.8 shooting percentage and has won 496 of 920 faceoffs for a 53.9 winning percentage.
There is a lot to like about Thomas. He has excellent leadership qualities having worn a letter in the past and wearing one for the IceDogs this season. His tenacity and work ethic go unmatched on most nights and his teammates seem to follow his lead.
Thomas possesses excellent puck handling skills, vision and passing abilities. He’s also a very good skater with very good speed and works his edges extremely well. When combined, he is difficult to contain in the o-zone, making him one of the better playmakers in the draft class.
Thomas is also a very good three zone player who puts as much pride and effort on the defensive side of the game as he does on the offensive side. He skates hard on the back check, puts his body or stick into lanes, doesn’t shy away from physicality and is a key cog on the IceDogs penalty kill.
Thomas was on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch List as an A prospect – typically a first-round pick. On their mid term rankings, Thomas was ranked tenth among North American Skaters. On Bob McKenzie’s mid-term rankings, Thomas was ranked 29th among all skaters.
Stat page of Akil Thomas from elite prospects